143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 3 X Vessel Operation

Passenger Boarding ƒ The operator of a boat with an enclosed engine compartment should run the blower for at least four minutes before boarding passengers. ƒ When boarding a small boat, passengers should step to the middle of the boat and sit down immediately. ƒ Keep the mooring lines secured to the dock while passengers are climbing aboard the boat. ƒ If the boat is small, be sure every person sits down, and the gear is stowed so that the boat is balanced. Finally ƒ Check to see that you have enough distance (freeboard) between the water line and the gunwale. If not, your boat is overloaded. ƒ Check the direction of the wind and current. ƒ Check the area to make sure it is clear of other traffic. Proceed slowly to reduce the wake and observe wake-free zones (5 mph). When Under Way ƒ Check the lines. Trailing lines in the water can foul the propeller and damage the engine. ƒ Check the speed. Always travel at a slow speed (5 mph.) when you’re close to swimmers, docks, piers or crowded boat ramp areas, as your wake may ƒ Check the weather, winds and tides. A good way to get weather reports is to use a marine band radio. Detailed information can also be obtained by tuning to local radio stations or the National Weather Radio broadcasts on frequencies of 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz in areas where available or by consulting local news sources. ƒ Check charts for the local area for underwater objects, shoals, shipping lanes and other hazards. ƒ Check for local hazards such as dams, bridges, power lines, changing tides and low or high seasonal water. ƒ Check that everyone is properly seated and that the boat is balanced. It’s not safe to have passengers riding on the bow, gunwales or transom of a boat. ƒ Check to make sure you reduce your wake. You are responsible for any damage to other boats and property caused by your boat’s wake. cause personal injury or damage. ƒ Check navigation rules and signs. ƒ Check both sides and aft before turning. ƒ Check meters and gauges frequently while underway.


Courtesy is essential for safe boat operation, and a major way to prevent accidents. Here are some examples: f Know the nagivation rules and always give way to avoid a collision. f Lower your speed to reduce your wake around others. f Do not spray other boats, water skiers or bathers with your wake. f Keep a safe distance from docks, bathers and fishing boats. f Limit noise.

WEBSITES For more information about weather terminology and conditions, visit

dbw.parks.ca.gov/ BoatingConditions

For assistance selecting launch locations in California, see BoatCalifornia.com


California Course for Safe Boating

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